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No hope of recovery meant that he didn’t have to worry anymore about the sorts of calamities that other people face. He would have no relationships. He would never have a job again, and though money was an issue, he wouldn’t have to worry about it. No one could move him from the house.

“Get up!” his brother shouted. “I know you can. You don’t fool me for a minute.”

Reggie made a sincere attempt. He held the walker with both hands and threw himself off the bed. He had no muscles, and the effort was extreme. When he collapsed in a pile of skin, his brother scoffed.

“You need to exercise more,” he said.

Reggie did his best to nod as he was lifted over the bedpan. Because his brother seemed particularly miffed, he wanted to finish quickly, but he had no control over his body.

Most of an hour later, something finally fell out of him, and he tried to apologize for taking so long.

“What’s that? Speak up.”

Reggie couldn’t raise his jaw once it had fallen.

“Why are you even alive? If you don’t die or stop faking soon, I may have to finish the job myself.” He threw Reggie back into his bed without pulling up the pajama bottoms. The blankets were on the floor.

He would never have to do his own taxes. He would never have to choose between his family and his career. Never would he have to stand in line at the DMV.

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